Delhi HC dismisses plea challenging Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as Delhi Police Commissioner

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Updated: October 12, 2021 11:15 AM

The PIL, filed by lawyer Sadre Alam, prayed for quashing of the July 27 order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs appointing Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner.

The PIL, filed by lawyer Sadre Alam, prayed for quashing of the July 27 order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs appointing Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as city police commissioner. The order was pronounced by a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on a petition by lawyer Sadre Alam.

The PIL, filed by lawyer Sadre Alam, prayed for quashing of the July 27 order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs appointing Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner, and also the order granting inter-cadre deputation and extension of service to him.

The court had earlier also allowed an intervention application by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation in the case. CPIL had accused Alam of copying contents of its petition pending before the apex court against Asthana’s appointment.

“The impugned orders (of MHA) are in clear and blatant breach of the directions passed by the Supreme Court of India in Prakash Singh case as respondent no.2 (Asthana) did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months; no UPSC panel was formed for appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner; and the criteria of having a minimum tenure of two years has been ignored,” the plea had submitted.

The Centre, in its affidavit, has said that the appointment of Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner and the extension of his service tenure was done in public interest, keeping in mind the diverse law and order challenges faced by the national capital, which have national security implications as well as international and cross border implications.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, had argued before the court that Prakash Singh judgement applies to the case and that such a conclusion that no other officer was found fit could only have come from the Union Public Service Commission.

“Where is the question of the Government of India on its own deciding that there is nobody fit. Just see the demoralising effect it will have on the officers of AGMUT cadre that they are being solemnly told by the government of India that in your cadre none of you is fit enough to be Commissioner of Police, that there is no officer fit enough to be appointed and that they have to bring officer from Gujarat who is retiring in four days,” Bhushan had argued.

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